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The power of social games is in their communities. Legacy of a Thousand Suns is about being as social as possible.
The sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing game is turning 2-years-old this month. 5th Planet Games first released it in 2010 on Facebook, where it has experienced a particularly high retention rate. It currently has 50,000 monthly users. Meanwhile, Legacy has appeared on Kongregate and Armor Games, where it’s been played over 7 million and 3 million times, respectively.
“These are platforms known for their core audiences,” Robert Winkler, the co-founder and chief executive of 5th Planet, told GamesBeat. Initial discovery on these sites has been a key to the game’s success.
Winkler said Legacy’s main competition on all three platforms is its own fantasy-themed Dawn of the Dragons, an RPG that has over 20 million play sessions on Kongregate, nearly 3 million on Armor Games, and 130,000 monthly users on Facebook. Most people are either loyal to one genre or the other, fantasy or sci-fi, said Winkler.
“Beyond our own games, we track everything that shows up on Kongregate and Armor Games,” he said. “When we see a dip in traffic or revenue, it is usually attributed to new games launching in other genres. This is a positive since we feel like our community recognizes we are producing some of the best RPGs on the market, but it is also a good reminder that we need to stay focused on providing quality, value, and fun.”
A lot of different elements have contributed to the Legacy’s popularity over the past two years, said Winkler. Its narrative complexity, for one, is significant among other text-based RPGs, along with its high-quality artwork.
“Legacy of a Thousand Suns was one of the first titles on Facebook to be triple-A quality,” said Winkler. “We partnered with Concept Art House, an award-winning art studio known for their work with brands like Magic and Warcraft, to level up our visual fidelity.”
Co-op gameplay and community-building features — like raids, alliances, contests, and gifts — continue to engage players. “Our forums are extremely active as well,” said Winkler. “It is a truly ‘social’ social game.”
“Community is what drives Legacy of a Thousand Suns and all of 5th Planet’s games and is the one thing we value more than any other,” he said. “We just wrapped up the second annual Legacy of a Thousand Suns player council. This is where we fly a group of players with varying play styles in to our headquarters and conduct a weekend-long focus group. Once the weekend wraps up, that group of players is then engaged on a daily basis for the rest of the year, and [they] serve as sounding boards and community advocates. Nearly a quarter of our payroll goes toward headcount that has some level of direct interaction with our players, and each game has a dedicated community manager.”
5th Planet is celebrating Legacy’s 2-year anniversary with a month-long celebration that includes weekly world raids, a treasure hunt event, new minizones, a comic-drawing contest, and more.
“It’s a game that continues to evolve, so our players never get bored,” said Winkler. “It’s something you can play for a few minutes here and there or for hours on end, which is what a lot of our players end up doing!”
5th Planet also publishes Clash of the Dragons and Legacy of Heroes on Facebook, Kongregate, Armor Games, and Kabam.